Lauren Durham had planned a lovely beach wedding complete with a white dress and flowers. Then came Hurricane Irma. So instead of wedding clothes, Durham and her fiance, Michael Davis, found themselves donning army fatigues in a vast hangar filled with rescue vehicles and paramedics just hours before they would rush into a hurricane to try to save their fellow Floridians. It turns out both are senior airmen with the Air National Guard - and were deployed indefinitely to assist with the rescue. So they let their out-of-town guests know they'd probably miss their own wedding and headed to the Orange County Convention Center to wait out the hurricane with hundreds of other relief workers before being sent into the state's most devastated regions. While eating breakfast with friends on Sunday morning somebody said, "Hey, why don't you guys get married during the hurricane?" Durham says: "It started out as a joke, and it just kind of unfolded. And it turned out to be really great." Dozens of people - some longtime friends from the service, some strangers from across the country who came to assist with the rescue efforts - set up folding chairs. Someone came up with a bouquet of orange flowers. Their best friend in the Guard happens to be a notary and officiated. It never occurred to either to try to beg off duty for their wedding. Davis said, "Service before self. And it will be a great story to tell their kids one day. (Newser)
Do Not Shoot the Hurricane!
Apparently along with everything else he had to worry about, the sheriff of Pasco County, Florida was also concerned that some members of his community might actually try to shoot Hurricane Irma. The following is an actual tweet from the Pasco County Sheriff's Office: "DO NOT shoot weapons @ (hashtag) Irma. You won't make it turn around (and) it will have very dangerous side effects." The sheriff's office, which is in the Tampa Bay area, was responding to a Facebook event page created by two Florida men inviting people to shoot at Irma. The page reads: "YO SO THIS GOOFY ... LETS SHOW IRMA THAT WE SHOOT FIRST ..." The invitation presumably was a joke, but 80,000 people indicated they were "going" or "interested" in the event. (Newser)
Are You Happy - or Miserable?
If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands -- especially if you're from Minnesota. In a new poll from WalletHub, the North Star State ranks highest in the "Happiest States in America" list, which looked at all 50 across three main metrics: how emotionally and physically well its citizens are, work environment, and community gauges such as average leisure time and the volunteerism rate. The state that fared the worst: West Virginia. Here, the happiest five states and the five least happy, along with each state's overall "happiness" score (out of 100):
West Virginia; 35
Dark Web Decodes Message from Prince of Darkness!
What better entity to decode a 341-year-old cryptic message from the "Prince of Darkness" than the dark web. For hundreds of years, scholars and occultists have been trying to decipher a letter purported to be from the devil himself. The story is that Sister Maria Crocifissa della Concezione, a nun at the convent of Palma di Montechiaro in Southern Italy, woke up after a fainting spell on August 11, 1676, to discover several letters written in her hand in an indecipherable mix of symbols and languages. Sister Maria and her fellow nuns decided the letters were dictated to her by Lucifer in an attempt to drive Sister Maria away from God and the convent. Only one of the letters survived and for nearly 350 years it has flummoxed scholars, mystics, and codebreakers. But researchers at the Ludum Science Center in Sicily cracked the code using an algorithm they found on the Dark Web. And while the translation they came up with does sound sinister - including claims that God and Jesus are "dead weights" and that the "system works for no one" - Daniele Abate, director of the center, believes the letter is proof less of the existence of Satan than Sister Maria's talent for languages and mental illness. He said, "I personally believe that the nun had a good command of languages, which allowed her to invent the code, and [she] may have suffered from a condition like schizophrenia, which made her imagine dialogues with the Devil." (Times of Israel)
Lucky Guy: Great White Shark Edition
A 35-year-old surfer was taken to a hospital in Australia Sunday after a shark snapped his board, tore his hip, and flung him into the air! Abe McGrath was surfing at Iluka, off Australia's east coast, when what he described as an 11-foot great white shark attacked the board from underneath. A police statement read" "As a result of the impact, the board has snapped. The injured victim has gone into the air and then re-entered the water." McGrath says "the shark began to circle and then turned away." So he grabbed half his board and swam to shore, then his friends drove him to Ballina Hospital. The shark's teeth tore McGrath's wetsuit and left a gash on his right hip. McGrath's friend, Bryce Cameron, who was on the beach during the attack, says if McGrath had been sitting on the board instead of lying on it when the shark struck, he would have lost his leg. "The board has snapped in half straight away and that is when the shark's teeth hit his leg. He is pretty much the luckiest man on Earth right now," said Cameron. (Daily Telegraph)
Guess He Wanted to Have it His Way
In Cornwall, England, Edward James Wright, a homeless man, apparently wanted to have it his way. He terrified the staff and patrons of a McDonald's when he began waving his private parts with one hand, and a knife in the other. Prosecutor Jason Beal said, "The defendant approached and began banging his knife against the window. He appeared to damage his knife and, in response to that, the defendant then took his penis out of his trousers and began waving that around to the people who were inside." Wright then smashed the front door window and then assaulted the restaurant manager which led to staff being forced to lock the doors. Wright was arrested by police after the incident. He later pleaded guilty to charges of robbery, possessing a knife, assault, criminal damage and exposure. His attorney said on the day of the attack he had not taken his medication for bi-polar disorder and had been drinking alcohol the previous night. He was sentenced to 32 months in jail. During sentencing, Judge Robert Linford said: 'You were threatening and menacing and completely out of control. You waved your genitals around because you are drunk and stupid." (Metro)
Putting Tour on Hold - Because Band is Accused of Kidnapping!
The members of a Polish death metal band embarking on an American tour were scheduled to play a show in Mesa, Ariz., but instead found themselves in a Los Angeles County Jail cell. All four members of the band Decapitated were arrested early Saturday morning after their Friday night concert in Santa Ana, Calif., on suspicion of kidnapping a woman following their Aug. 31 show in Spokane, Wash. The alleged victim told police the four men kidnapped her after she attended their show at the Pit concert hall in downtown Spokane as part of their "Double Homicide" tour. The four men, all Polish nationals, are now awaiting extradition back to Spokane. But Steve Graham, a Spokane-based defense attorney hired by the band, says, "We have witnesses that can testify to the fact that the accuser came to visit the band of her own free will and left on good terms." He also says the members of Decapitated have offered to surrender to Spokane authorities but have yet to hear back. The band's accuser has not been identified, and the police have not said where she was taken during the alleged kidnapping. (Spokesman-Review)
What the What?
On Friday, leading into Hurricane Irma, Florida State University made an announcement that any citizen of Tallahassee was welcome to park their vehicles in the university parking garages for safekeeping until the monster storm had passed. Apparently the Napleton Infiniti dealership pounced on the opportunity and basically took over the entire St. Augustine St. garage with their inventory. As you can imagine, this was not a good PR move and, due to their selfish act, the Tallahassee community retaliated by giving the company one-star reviews on Facebook, Google and Yelp. It got so bad that Napleton Infiniti finally were forced to remove their review feature from their Facebook page completely, preventing people from leaving new reviews or viewing old ones. For their part, Napleton Infiniti clarified that they had permission from the university to park their cars in the garage due to their business relationship, but the public continued to rain down fire on the company. (The Tab)